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Are you thinking about virtual leadership (part 1)?

I recently signed up for a course on Virtual Leadership. The subject is interesting to me, because I work outside our main office, and even outside our satellite office, so most of my communication with our firm – to leaders or others – are virtual encounters (phone, mail, Lync, video calls).

The focus of the course is the do’s and don’ts of Virtual Leadership, and it is taught by psychologist Mads Schramm, who also wrote a book on the subject. What immediately got my attention, is how you can improve the quality of communication, by adding a few distinct lines like “it’s important that you take the above as a suggestion, not as an order.” Simply writing it out like that, makes the communication “fool proof” in my opinion. It’s always nice, when you find low-hanging fruits like that. It gives you an appetite (or motivation) to look for more of the same.

As preparation for the course, I had a half hour online interview with the teacher. It worked great as a motivation for the course. Partly because it was clear to me, that there was a lot to take away (learn) from this subject. And partly because it seems like a good way to learn about our organization. The course has about 10 participants, and I look forward to hearing from all of those, as well as the teacher.

For some reason we (the participants) were invited to another online prepping session before the course. I spent 5 minutes trying to get “into the meeting”, and when I did, it quickly became clear to me, that the meeting was nothing but a repeat of the agenda for the course. A waste of time, basically. But more than that: it worked to undermine my motivation and expectations for the course, since the feeling of wasting your time was now associated with the course. It didn’t help, that technological problems prevented half of the participants from talking in the meeting.

On a positive note, I hope this meeting will be the starting point of some good discussions at the course, since we now share this common experience.

I’ll be back with part 2 after the course, but here are the major topics that I look forward to learning about:

  • Leading virtual teams
  • Management by mail
  • Choosing the right means of communication
  • Leading employees who work from home
  • Building trust and good relations in a virtual environment
The book is in Danish, so let me translate the text for you: Virtual Leadership – Create visibility, results and closeness from a distance.

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